LAHDC Polls: Ladakh Leaders Meet HM, Deadlock Likely To End

New Delhi: An influential organisation from Ladakh, which had threatened to boycott the upcoming elections to the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh, is likely to participate in the poll process after its meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah here on Saturday, sources said.

A formal announcement to this effect is likely to be made by the People’s Movement for Sixth Schedule for Ladakh and representatives of the Union government on Sunday, they said.

After the delegation’s meeting, the Home Minister’s Office tweeted, “Home Minister @AmitShah met with former MP Thupstan Chhewang, former MP Thiksay Rinpoche, former minister Chering Dorjay Lakrook & other public representatives of Union Territory of Ladakh in New Delhi.”

However, there has been no official word about the issues discussed at the meeting.

A Home Ministry official said several issues and demands were discussed in the meeting. On September 22, the recently floated People’s Movement for Sixth Schedule for Ladakh, a powerful platform representing various politicians, religious and social organisations, announced the boycott of the upcoming elections to the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh.

The LAHDC Leh is scheduled to go to polls on October 16 — the first such exercise in the region after Ladakh was carved out from Jammu and Kashmir and granted the Union Territory status on August 5 last year following the abrogation of special status to the erstwhile state.

The organisation had said it will boycott the LAHDC Leh elections till such time the constitutional safeguard under sixth schedule on the lines of Bodo Territorial Council is not extended to the UT Ladakh and its people, a veteran politician and former Lok Sabha MP Thupstan Chhewang said.

Saturday’s meeting was also attended by Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla and Director of Intelligence Bureau Arvind Kumar.

Highlighting the demand for legislative assembly, the group had said that the two existing Autonomous Hill Development Councils in Leh and Kargil districts should be sufficiently empowered to make necessary legislations and rules for areas under their jurisdiction with elected representatives having the final say.

When the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two Union Territories after abrogation of Article 370, it was announced that the UT of Jammu and Kashmir would have a legislative assembly but UT of Ladakh would not have any legislature.

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